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Wellness Wednesday: Preventing dental injuries during spring sports

Posted at 4:50 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 18:50:29-04

IDAHO — With spring sports comes the increased potential for dental injuries if children do not have the proper gear.

Dr. Michael Lynn Gurney from the Idaho Dental Association said children losing teeth while playing sports is very common and can be very serious. Data shows more than five million teeth are displaced every year. Sports-related dental injuries account for around 600,000 emergency room visits, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

But simple preventative measures can help protect against dental injuries. According to data from 2019, mouth guard users are between 82-93% less likely to suffer teeth or other facial injuries.

"A lot of sports that are contact-related have gear that they should wear anyways, sometimes they don't let them participate without that equipment, but a simple thing that can definitely help minimize the risk to their mouth and teeth is just a protective mouth or sports guard," Gurney said.

But for the best protection, Gurney said a professionally made sports guard is the most protective.

"Mostly because it's more comfortable and the athlete will wear it," he said. "The ones (you can buy) over the counter, they are helpful but they just aren't as protective and comfortable as one that can be made by your local dentist."

Parents or children looking for more information on how to find a mouth guard, Gurney recommends talking to your dentist.